Ed Krisa was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 6, 1923 and grew up in New York City. He was the second of four children born to Sofron and Eva Dorosh Krisa, each of whom had immigrated from the Ukraine before meeting in the US. Their oldest child and the youngest both died in infancy; Eva died shortly after the youngest child was born when Ed was just 6 years old.
Depression Era life was hard for Ed and his father and sister, Mary. Ed periodically lived in orphanages when his father’s work left nobody to watch the children. He recalled selling potatoes on the street to help support the family. Ed graduated from high school in 1941 and began working at jobs such as mail clerk and telegraph delivery boy. The job with Western Union left him with entertaining stories to tell about notable customers such as Nikola Tesla and Eddie Rickenbacker.
Ed joined the Army Air Force in 1943. He was trained as a propeller mechanic and spent the war at various postings including Nebraska, Florida, Canada, and Nome, Alaska. After being discharged when the war ended, Ed worked several short-term jobs in Florida and New York while also serving in the New York Air National Guard. In 1951, he began his career working as a civilian for the Air Force. For twenty years he was based in New York and handled procurement, quality assurance, and contract administration; for several of those years he administered contracts servicing Air Force One. He was transferred to the Oklahoma City Air Materials Area at Tinker AFB in 1970 and remained there the rest of his career.
While in New York, Ed met Trudy Schroeder at a YMCA dance. She had immigrated from Czechoslovakia after the war. They married in 1954, moved to New Hyde Park on Long Island, and began raising their family – Tom, Ken, Peggy, and Bill. Family life was important to Ed. He was working toward a Bachelor’s degree at Hofstra University at night, but didn’t complete his studies because it conflicted with the demands of a busy family. They enjoyed beaches in the summer, snow in the winter, and vacations in New England during the NY years and in the West from the Gulf of Mexico to Wyoming during the Oklahoma years. He encouraged his children in academics, sports, and music, and exposed them to many cultural events. Born a Catholic, Ed came to serve as an elder in the Presbyterian Church and set a quiet example of faith and service.
Once the children were successfully established and they had retired, Ed and Trudy enjoyed traveling, attending Elderhostels, visiting the kids, and square dancing. Ed tried his hand at tap dance, piano, and silversmithing. They took advantage of the cultural and sports offerings at the University of Oklahoma and in Oklahoma City. An annual summer trip to the beach was a favorite opportunity to bring together as many of the 4 children and 7 grandchildren as possible. In 2012, Ed and Trudy moved to St. Mark Village in Palm Harbor, FL, where he could have more help looking after Trudy, who was having health issues. After Trudy’s death in 2014, Ed became an active member of the St Mark Village community, attending exercise classes, going on trips to art galleries and historical museums, and enjoying the company of many new friends. His health took a turn for the worse during the last 3 months of his life. Ed fought hard to keep going, as he always had, but on May 24, 2019, he passed away peacefully with family at his side.